Although he concedes his results may not have shown it, Virtuosi Racing’s new driver Marino Sato says he’s improved considerably since making the step-up to Formula 2, admitting that too many DNF’s have hindered his chances to show his true abilities just yet.

The 2019 Euroformula Open champion made the switch to Virtuosi after two seasons with Trident that yielded two top 10 finishes, but also seven retirements.

Despite those struggles, Sato still feels that he made plenty of steps forward with the Italian team, adding that the issues were “out of our control.”

“It is always difficult to turn in results if you have a problem, but as a driver, I am definitely improving with every race week,” said Sato. “Results-wise, I think we were quite poor this year, but those results have come from quite a few unlucky situations.

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Sato debuted for Virtuosi at post-season testing in Abu Dhabi
Sato debuted for Virtuosi at post-season testing in Abu Dhabi

“In most of the events, I think we had issues with the car, often in Free Practice or Qualifying, so we were always a step behind going into the races. Like in Monza, we were quite strong in Free Practice, but then we had an issue in Qualifying.

“That was tough, and that was a weekend when we had the potential, so we couldn't turn it into results. It is important to get as much mileage as possible, and I think I've probably done the least mileage of the grid due to circumstances that were out of our control.”

Sato stormed to the Euroformula title in 2019, taking 11 podiums, including nine wins, from just 16 races to finish more than 120 points ahead of then Formula 3 racer Liam Lawson.

From there he made the jump to F2 with Campos Racing for the final three rounds of the year, before two full seasons with Trident.

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Sato spent two seasons with Trident
Sato spent two seasons with Trident

“We are always improving,” Sato continued. “In dealing with these tyres and managing them to the end, controlling the pace in the races. We are also learning the car setup and I do think we are getting stronger.

“Considering the year before, last season was a big step. Even from the beginning of last season, we had gotten better with the management of the tyres. Unfortunately, I had too many DNFs, but looking at my teammate, I think we were always improving.”